Below are some examples of global projects we fund.
IUCN Red List of Ecosystems (IUCN)
The IUCN Red List of Ecosystems is a global standard to assess the status of ecosystems, applicable at local, national, regional and global levels. It shows whether an ecosystem is facing imminent risk of collapse, or whether it is vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered. This is measured by assessing losses in area, degradation or other major changes such as conversion.
A standardised system allows for objective, transparent and repeatable assessments of ecosystem risk, and losses of ecosystem functions and services. Such assessments are comparable between regions and time periods.
The Red List of Ecosystems will complement the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and other IUCN knowledge products. When used together, ecosystem and species red lists will provide the most informative indicator of the status of biological and abiotic diversity at national, regional and global levels. The Red List of Ecosystems will provide indicators used to assess ecosystem health and support arguments for non-degraded ecosystems as a core component of human well-being, land use management, governance and macroeconomic planning.
With climate change and increased risks of disasters, we urgently need criteria at the ecosystem-level not only to raise awareness about their threats, but also to demonstrate how improved ecosystem management can reduce risks, enhance resilience, and be a means for adaptation.
Challenging the use of neonicotinoids in Europe (Pesticide Action Network Europe)
Neonicotinoids (referred to here as ‘neonics’), a related group of synthetic chemicals derived from nicotine, are widely used as insecticides in various crops indoors and outdoors. Their use is rising in Europe and worldwide due to the ease of use (systemic and persistent) and their effectiveness in insect destruction. The regulatory system in place was and still is very much focused on foliar applications and is not ready to assess the effects of systemic pesticides (absorbed in the root system) like neonics. Their negative effects were observed fairly early on as beekeepers began to report massive bee die-off starting at the end of the 1990s in areas close to maize (corn) and sunflower fields treated with neonics. Despite alarm bells that have been ringing for more than 10 years, regulators have not been capable of carrying out a proper risk assessment.
The approach of the project supported by MAVA is two-fold: on the one hand, taking legal action to challenge current legislation/regulations and, on the other hand, lobbying politicians and the retail and wholesale sectors to engage in the reduction of neonics. Both are meant to attract widespread media attention, which will increase the pressure on politicians and retailers to act. The focus of the project is on the European Union, starting with Italy, France, and Austria as a trigger for legislative change at EU level.
Environmental guidance for decision-making in fisheries: from regional to EU level (Seas at Risk)
The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is one of the few common policies of the EU, and the decision-making process is therefore quite centralized. CFP addresses management of natural resources, market policy, public subsidies, and environmental policies, among others. EU decision-makers, who are politicians rather than technicians, and NGOs working on fisheries policy often struggle to properly address all these components at an adequately expert level.
Because fisheries policy decisions are taken at a level which is often far removed from fishing activities, Regional Advisory Councils (RACs) were created, bringing together stakeholders including fishermen, producers, and civil society. These forums are important and the Commission must take their advice into account when proposing new legislation. However, they can be quite a hostile working environment, where NGOs are outnumbered and often seen as “the enemy”. Due to lack of resources NGOs cannot participate in the work of the RACs as consistently as desired, and this undermines their credibility, forcing them into constant damage-control. In the Mediterranean especially, NGO participation needs a boost.
The aim of this project is to address this double challenge of providing EU parliamentarians the context they need to make informed decisions and supporting the NGO constituency within RACs to allow them to fully play their influencing role. This project builds on the organisation’s current work, which has already been supported by MAVA, by expanding its scope – one of its objectives is to target the European Parliament more consistently, and to provide comment and input to policy and legislative processes as soon as they are formulated – well in advance of the Council and Parliament meetings where they are finally adopted. The other objective of the project is to expand NGO participation in the Mediterranean RAC and to increase Seas at Risk’s capacity to consistently participate in RAC meetings and preparatory work, enabling them to move to a pro-active, cooperative position.
WAZA Biodiversity Decade (WAZA)
WAZA, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and its members, with their experience in awareness raising and considering the number of zoo-goers, are well positioned to help educate the public about the need to protect biodiversity. MAVA is supporting WAZA to do this through a global awareness campaign within the framework of the global UN focus on biodiversity conservation for the next 10 years, called the “Decade on Biodiversity”, of which WAZA is a signatory.
Together with a selection of 20-30 zoos and aquariums in six different regions of the world, a modular set of awareness raising tools adapted for modern media will be developed as a recognisable framework, but adaptable to regional, cultural and individual institutional situations.
The central objectives of the project are: making sure the public understands biodiversity and its threats, and conveying stimulating and positive messages about the importance of individual contributions towards biodiversity conservation, and how to act on an everyday basis to contribute to biodiversity conservation via individual footprint reduction.
The target is to reach out to up to 700 million zoo/aquarium visitors (which represents 10% of the world population). The numerous conservation projects of the WAZA community are convincing arguments and the animals displayed in the WAZA member facilities are the best ambassadors to increase public awareness and trigger action.